Children between the six months and three years of age are susceptible to many ear infections; these types of infections are quite common with children in this particular age group.
The physical construction of the human ear is quite complex internally and the ear taken as a whole consist of three parts named the outer, the middle and the inner ear respectively. The auricle or the flap of curved skin and cartilage on the outside is the outer ear; this is the external and visible part of the ear. The peculiar shape of the external ear serves to convey and amplify vibrations from the external world to the eardrum and into the middle ear; it thus acts as an external canal for the conveyance of sound and other vibrations to the internal ear. These vibrations conveyed from the exterior are passed through the three main structures forming the middle ear; the three essential structures of the middle ear are formed from three small bones-the stapes, the malleus and the incus. These bones convey vibrations into the inner ear, where the vibrations are picked up by auditory nerves in the nerve endings of the inner ear for translation in the brain-this is what makes hearing possible. An additional function of the inner ear is in the maintenance of balance and coordination.
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There exist other connections in the anatomy of the ear, a tube called the Eustachian tube or opening connects the middle ear to the nasal cavity and the throat by means of a passageway from the inner ear into the posterior region of the oral cavity. The function of this tube is to enable the drainage of excess amounts of secretions from the middle ear into the nose and throat for elimination; this also releases the pressure that can build up in the inner ear because of the presence of these secretions. The secretions can accumulate and cause a great deal of pressure to build up in the inner ear if the Eustachian tube is performing its role of drainage properly for any reason; the result is that the pressure in the ear rises to an extreme level and the ear becomes painful-this can lead to blockage and eventual infection because of bacterial action.
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Compared to older children the Eustachian opening in very young children and infants is oriented in a more or less horizontal plane rather than in the mature vertical plane, this makes drainage of the inner ear difficult. This is one reason that infants are very susceptible to infections of the inner ears. Blockage often results because of accumulated fluids in the inner ear, bacteria find this an ideal environment for multiplication and their actions cause the subsequent infection.
As children mature and the internal placement of the Eustachian tube changes, the ear infections become rarer in occurrence and the susceptibility of a child to ear infections reduces as he or she gets older because of these changes in the anatomy. The Eustachian tube begins to curve downwards and changes from its horizontal position to assume a more vertical orientation as a child grows; this allows excess fluids to drain away easily and reduces the chances of a pressure build up in the internal ear. Infections are thus precluded with the maturation of the inner ear and the repositioning of the Eustachian tube that this entails in the body. A fully mature individual tends to have a Eustachian tube that has a pronounced downward angle or slope into the oral orifice.
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The presence of a common cold or another upper respiratory infection, including an infection of the adenoids, the tonsils, or sinuses can often result in complications that lead to an ear infection as all these areas are connected. The infections as such can come along with other physical symptoms such as a runny nose and coughing, and a sore throat is also often present in such cases; occasionally vomiting and diarrhea may also accompany the infection. The presence of fever depends on the type of infection and its severity.
It is easy to find out if a child has an ear infection, toddlers will typically tug at the painful ear, they may cry and fuss about by rubbing or hitting their ears, a child who has learnt to talk will of course tell you that their ear hurts. Ear infections in infants can usually be found out because the infant may suddenly become irritable or could suddenly come down with a fever-these signs can tell you if the infant is suffering from infection in the ear.
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A sensation of pressure and fullness in the ear is another symptom that can be quite common but may be difficult for children to explain to you-this can complicate things because no obvious signs of infection exist in the ear even on close examination. The sensation can be very irritating to the child and it is caused by the accumulation of excess fluid in the inner ear, this fluid keeps pushing against the eardrum causing a build up of pressure. Some temporary hearing loss in the affected ear is common and the child may complain of this loss. The loss is temporary in the large majority if cases, where permanent hearing loss is concerned, the causes are different. It is good to take precautions and be prepared to treat all ear infections as emergencies as prolonged incidences of ear infections and consequent hearing loss will lead to long-term problems in the ears and may affect hearing.
Call the doctor again for consultation and if needed for medical examination of the infant if the child does not recover from an ear infection twenty four hours following an initial treatment. If the ear infection does not respond immediately to treatment or if the treatment methodology followed is wrong, there are risks of a permanent hearing loss to the child. To preclude such possibilities go in for thorough medical checks and if necessary, try another treatment method.
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All types of bacterial infections can be cleared away by the use of an herbal combination formula containing the Echinacea and goldenseal herbs. The antiviral properties of Echinacea and the bactericidal properties of goldenseal pack an effective punch against infections of all types; goldenseal in addition soothes the irritated mucous membranes brought about by the infection. The immune system is bolstered by both the herbs and this aids in the rapid elimination of the infection. The preferred form of consumption of this herbal formula is in the form of a liquid extract. While the infection is acute, children can be given a single dose once every two hours during the treatment regimen. Once the symptoms subside a little, the dosage can be reduced to s single dose of the combination formula taken thrice a day, during a treatment period of one week.
For you attention: Echinacea should not be given to children on a regular basis for more than two weeks at one time as it tends to lose its effectiveness and healing property.
Infections in the ear can also be alleviated by the use of garlic which is an antibacterial agent. Children may object to the strong odor of garlic and it is best to use an odorless form of garlic as the capsule form of the garlic is preferred by many children. The capsules can be dissolved in soup or in hot water or it can be swallowed whole on a daily basis by the child. The product label will have the age specific instructions on how to use the capsules-follow the directions to the letter. Some other options of using garlic exist. One of these is to use it as topical remedy by heating a fresh clove of garlic clove in some olive oil, put one or two drops of warm oil into the infected ear as a direct ointment, the oil should not be too hot or too cold when it is dripped into the infected ear. To treat inflammation and swelling in the body Native American tribes have made traditional use of the oil of the mullein herb. The warm oil of the mullein can also be used as a direct topical ointment that can be dripped into the infected ear of the child. While the mullein acts on the infection, the warmed oil is also a soothing balm on the irritated tissues inside the ear-as mentioned previously with regard to the use of the garlic oil, make sure the mullein oil is not too hot.
Commonly used essential oils for ear infection:
The homeopathic remedies given here are for use during the appearance of acute symptoms, dosage can be carried out on an hourly basis and more often if necessary. For one to three weeks a daily intake of about one to three doses is sufficient for the treatment of chronic cases. This type of a dosage regimen can prevent recurrences from occurring and aid in the treatment of new symptoms.
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